I think about Dad and the things I learned from him.
I learned to never drive in the pack. I learned that walking through the rows while irrigating would compact the soil. I learned to always check the oil in anything that had oil. I learned the family was important, even when people did stupid things. I learned that integrity was a critical character trait. I learned about John Deere tractors. I learned how to ride a bicycle. I learned about giving to our neighbors. I learned about gardens. I learned that traveling hundreds of miles at Christmas to be with family was the real meaning of Christmas. I learned that education was important, even though Dad only had an 8th grade education. I learned that Dad cared enough to build a watermill for a dance and even served as a chaperone. People in the family may remember the picture with Mom in her pink dress with the feather-boa trim on the sleeves. That was from them being chaperones.
Because Dad was not perfect, I also learned not to smoke. I learned that saying "I love you" was important because you can't assume people know that. I learned that Tom could teach me to drive, but Dad couldn't!
I don't think I can even begin to list the things I have learned from Elder Dixon. He is still trying to teach me that some things just don't matter. He is an example to me of forgiveness for hurts. He sacrificed pride for the good of our family. I learned that the content of a lesson is more important than the handouts. I learned that the scriptures and prayer are important. I learned that you have to attach the pin to the mast in the correct order or you may just drop it on a car. I learned that I could drive a truck even though it scared me. I learned that we could make it through tough things. I learned that he would be there when my life was the hardest. I learned that children adore him because he plays with them. I learned how to build a cabin. I learned how to hurt quietly inside when he was hurting. I am learning to talk a little louder and not turn away when speaking to him because he has a slight hearing loss (the range of my voice). I learned to care for those who were aging. I learned to serve quietly in the background. I have learned a little Portuguese, but mostly I have learned to make the food. I learned that serving a mission together would be a great experience. I am very grateful for this great man.
I am also grateful for my sons as fathers. I don't get to see them with their children much, but they clearly love their families and are devoted to them. I am grateful when I do get to be with them.
Our mission responsibilities are still daunting. There are so many apartment changes. We are getting a group of 21 missionaries in July and about that number in August. That will mean that I need to open some apartments.
We are trying to change a culture that has existed for a while. We want the apartments to be an extension of the spirit of the mission. We want the missionaries to take pride in their apartment and be able to be filled when they are there. It is difficult to create that with young missionaries who have not valued their apartments before. We are starting by getting rid of furniture that is worn out, broken, or has been written on.
There is a desire by the missionaries to leave a legacy, to somehow be part of the apartment in the future. It is fun and interesting to be able to see who has lived there before. Even the pioneers who crossed the plains desired to be remembered and carved their names in Independence Rock. We are thinking about a journal for the apartment.
Thought you might like a to see our dining room. It is one of my favorite places in the house. Sister Jessen always liked the plates, so they had meaning for me. I finally found a tablecloth that seemed to go with the theme. Peg, it has little butterflies on it! It makes me think of three people I love.
This picture is of one of many, many tributes you can see as you drive around in Atlanta. I think it is very nice. The neighborhood honors their graduates, high school and college. Great bragging rights for parents.